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  • Writer's pictureEthan Semendinger

The Best Trophies in Sports (Team Trophies)

Updated: Jan 3, 2023

I’ve always been interested in publishing an article like this, and what better time to do so then right after talking about the recent championship by NYCFC?

Today I’m going to highlight my order of (some of) the best team trophies across sports in North America, specifically for team awards/trophies. If you can think of any more I should add to the list, let me know in the comments!


Number 11: NCAA Championship Trophy

There are a lot of reasons as to why the NCAA Championship Trophy is last on the list. It is awarded to the winner of every sport (except FBS football) across the entire world of college sports from basketball, to FCS football, to soccer, to even stuff like water polo. At one end the continuity across sports for student-athletes is cool, but it would be cooler if each sport got their own trophy and not a small clipart of it.

Additionally, who wants a trophy made mostly of wood? It’s underwhelming.Embed from Getty Images


Number 10: Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy (NBA)

What a disappointment the NBA Finals Trophy is. The basketball on the trophy is perfect: it’s detailed but not cut into and it has the nice idea of going into a basketball hoop as the base.

But, the base is just so poorly done. The engraving on the golden base looks horrible. It’s off-putting to my eyes which is such a shame because the idea- if done well- may have put this tops across all sports.

Alas, the NBA trophy is a shame. It’s more than a shame. It flat out stinks.Embed from Getty Images


Number 9: WNBA Championship Trophy

The WNBA Trophy follows the NBA because even though it takes away the worst part of the NBA trophy (the base) and turns the whole trophy silver (which looks good), I don’t understand why they went with a 3-prong base for the basketball.

Especially because the 3-prongs make the whole thing italicized. A good trophy doesn’t need to be emphasized with how it’s designed. It should speak for itself.

It’s easy to hold and it looks nice, but it falls short to me.Embed from Getty Images


Number 8: Grey Cup (CFL)

The Grey Cup is a cool trophy that does all the really fun things of a different trophy on this list: it’s allowed to be taken by the winning players for a time after winning, it’s engraved every year, and it’s cool because it cost just $48 to make in 1909.

If your trophy breaks, and breaks often, that’s not cool. On top of that, the design of the base isn’t the best.Embed from Getty Images


Number 7: FIFA Men’s World Cup Trophy

The United States has yet to win the FIFA World Cup, but I hope one day the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) will be able to host it. Though, I also don’t hold my breath as US quality soccer does not compare to European or South American soccer.

However, this trophy finds itself in the lower half of my rankings because it’s a small trophy, it has a bias towards Brazil with it’s green stipes on the base (though, they have won the most World Cup tournaments), and the figures on the side do not look good.

It’s messy and disappointing for such an grand tournament that happens once every 4 years! It’s a shame.Embed from Getty Images


Number 6: FIFA Women’s World Cup Trophy

This is not because the USA has yet to win the trophy beforehand, this is because the Men’s trophy does not compare to the Women’s World Cup Trophy. And yes, the fact that the US Women’s National Team has won it the most times (4) is cool.

Nobody ever talks about this trophy, but it does a lot of things right: a nice ribbon design with some nice divots as it leads up into a curl and a golden soccer ball (which I think is a bit too detailed).

It’s simple, it looks nice and it’s clear what sport is being represented. Good job.Embed from Getty Images


Number 5: Philip F. Anschutz Trophy (MLS)

For the winner of the MLS Cup, they get a trophy that can be used as a cup. For being literal, and for looking pretty cool with it’s wings, it wins some points for me.

The Philip F. Anschutz Trophy also seems to take a lot of inspiration from soccer trophies across European leagues- specifically the Premier League– but it also does it’s own thing.

I also like the small details on it that add (take notes trophy makers) like the stars that surround the top of the cup and the soccer ball design on the base. The mixture of golds and silvers also plays very well that makes it pleasing to the eye.Embed from Getty Images


Number 4: Vince Lombardi Trophy (NFL)

However, the Lombardi Trophy is also- and lets be honest- kind of boring. But, it isn’t overly boring that it’s bad. It’s simple boring good if that makes any sense. But, it’s also just a silver football on a silver base.

Honestly, there isn’t much to say about the Lombardi Trophy. It does boring right. It keeps the focus of winning the Super Bowl on the teams. Though, it isn’t a super cool bowl trophy which is disappointing for the winners of the…Super Bowl.Embed from Getty Images


Number 3: NCAA Football Championship (FBS)

The College Football playoffs have become huge in recent years across the entire USA. The logo for the final game is perfectly embodied by it’s trophy of which does a lot of things right.

It has a football design with laces marked nice and clearly within the silver middle structure of the trophy. Around the middle comes two nice golden exterior wings. The combination of silver and gold color separates this trophy from all the others and it works well.Embed from Getty Images


Number 2: Commissioners Trophy (MLB)

Is it my own personal bias as to why the trophy for the sport I like most is this high up the list? Of course! But, you’re also reading a very subjective list of what trophies are the best as said by some guy on the internet. I’ve never claimed to be a designer or critic, I’m just Ethan.

Regardless, the Commissioners Trophy is cool. 30 flags for each of the 30 teams in the MLB over a cool circular design that has a baseball design on the base. It used to also feature pins for the teams in the World Series, as well as a gold colored baseball in a circular ring with a crown. However, I think the newer design has helped make it feel less messy.

The updated model for the trophy also follows the silver with gold accent style that I find very pleasing. This is definitely more than just a “piece of metal”.Embed from Getty Images


Number 1: Stanley Cup (NHL)

There is no question, the Stanley Cup- awarded to the winning team in the National Hockey League (NHL)- is the best team trophy in sports. It holds all of the important characteristics that separates it from the rest.

With the names of every former winner etched into the cup, it has the historic aspect. It’s also incredibly large (and only growing!), so it holds value in it’s sheer size. Finally, the many stories surrounding the Stanley Cup from it’s use as a cereal bowl to being used for baptisms, on the golf course and even as a cuddle buddy at night (and more)!


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